Doggone good news; Animal shelter sees decrease in strays on 4th

By Austin Jackson | Published Wednesday, July 11, 2018
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TAKE ME – The Wise County Animal Shelter has been overcapacity since March, according to shelter employees. The shelter will participate in the nationwide Clear the Shelter event Aug. 19. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Watching and launching fireworks on Independence Day is an annual tradition that draws big crowds and bigger booms.

Unfortunately, the dazzling explosions that surround the 4th of July also draw an annual tradition of stray dogs and cats to the already over-capacity Wise County Animal Shelter.

Gigi Gogniat, a tech at the Wise County Animal Shelter, said this year they’ve caught a break. She said the amount of strays brought in since the holiday is way down.

“Usually it’s our busiest day of the year,” Gogniat said. “So far, we’ve been lucky.”

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Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Shelter manager Cathy Sides said the loud explosions from fireworks drive animals to flee their homes and yards for freedom. They eventually are brought to the shelter.

Considering the amount of four-legged residents at the shelter currently, the timing was good. The shelter has 72 dogs and cats, occupying its 47 kennels.

“We haven’t had a break all year,” she said.

Sides, who has worked at the shelter a total of 24 years, isn’t ready to celebrate.

“Storms, fireworks, they’ll just run off,” she said. “We have it all the time. We haven’t had a bunch show up, yet. But it could be that they haven’t been found.”

Gogniat said the summer is when shelters are hit the hardest. Spring’s puppies and kittens become the summer’s shelter residents. She said the only time they’re under capacity is during November.

“It lasts about a week,” Gogniat said. “Then we’re back to normal.”

On Aug. 19, Sides said they hope to go way under capacity at Clear the Shelter, an annual nationwide adoption event, where all adoption fees are waived.

Wise County and Bridgeport’s Animal Shelter are participating in the nationwide effort. It will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Volunteers and donations of puppy and kitten food are both paramount to the shelter’s efforts. Gogniat added that spaying and neutering pets is the only path toward ending the cycle.

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